College Hockey:
Cahoon resigns as Massachusetts head coach, sees ‘lot of positives to this’

Massachusetts announced Tuesday that head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon has stepped down from his position.

“Through the course of our recent conversations, coach Cahoon and I mutually agreed that it would be in the program’s best interest for him to take this action at this time,” UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said in a statement. “I want to thank coach Cahoon for his many contributions to UMass and the community. He has positioned the program well for future success, both on and off the ice, and we are excited to continue to build on the foundation that he has put in place.”

“It’s been an honor to coach and work with so many fine student-athletes over the last 12 years here at UMass,” Cahoon added. “Their efforts and the efforts of the faculty, staff and community members will be fond memories of my time here at Massachusetts. I look forward to the continued growth and development of this program so that it will sustain itself at the most elite level within Hockey East. The privilege has been all mine.”

Cahoon also spoke to the Boston Herald and said he’s not quite finished yet.

“There’s not much I can say or need to say,” Cahoon said. “What I’d like to do is speak to all my players. I have a lot that I have to do within the program yet. Marblehead has been a big part of my life and always will be, but I have some close ties out here [in Amherst], as well. There are a lot of positives to this, too. We’ll see.”

The 62-year-old Cahoon recently completed his 12th season in Amherst with a 166-225-42 record. His 166 victories are the most in program history. He has compiled a 333-380-73 mark in 25 years as a head coach, which includes a stint at Princeton from 1991-2000, Norwich from 1979-82 and Lehigh from 1973-74.

In 2011-12, Cahoon led the Minutemen to a 13-18-5 mark and a their tenth-consecutive berth in the Hockey East playoffs.

Four of the seven All-Americans in program history have come during Cahoon’s time in Amherst: Thomas Pock (2004), 2012 Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick (2007), James Marcou (2009) and Justin Braun (2010).

A national search for the program’s 13th head coach will begin immediately.

The Herald speculated that candidates to replace Cahoon include Bill Gilligan, a former UMass assistant, Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh, former UMass assistant Dennis “Red” Gendron, now at Yale, former UMass grad assistant and Minnesota Wild scout Darren Yopyk, Colorado Avalanche assistant Dave Quinn and Toronto Maple Leafs assistant Greg Cronin, a former head coach at Northeastern. UMass could also seek permission to talk with Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy and Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl.

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  • College fan

    Toot may not have had the most impressive record as a division 1 head coach, but he was a class act behind the bench. I’m old enough to remember his having been a solid forward at B.U. in his college days and I believe he was a member of an NCAA title winning team. Good player and he helped the Terriers. Good luck to him.

  • NotForTheNCHC

    The legend Cary Eades is available. Look what he has done to that Sioux, Soo, or Sault program.

    Give Cary Eades a call he has already been rejected by great programs in Mankato and Houghton.

    Just a little hint before you hire him hide your spouses.

  • Truth Squad

    Hire Frank Anzalone! He would bring an NCAA championship banner to your school!

  • bronxbomberz41

    Tough to have a winning record in Hockey East when you play 12 games a year against BC, BU, UNH, and Maine, all usually though not always top 15 programs (plus, for now, occasional strong years from the rest of the league’s teams). He’s had some really good UMass teams, and some really awful ones as well. 69 of those losses came in 3 seasons.

  • collegehockeyfan

    Agree that Toot Calhoun was truly a class act. He loved the game and players and fans from all teams had great respect for him. I think everybody wishes him well in whatever his next endeavor may be.

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